AgDay Daily Recap - December 15, 2011

December 15, 2011 07:25 AM

DECEMBER 15, 2011

There's a new report out this morning that shows just how valuable farmland can be, especially when it's tied to corn and soybeans. Iowa State University just released its annual survey of real-estate transactions that were conducted this year. It shows the value of "overall" agricultural land in Iowa surged 32% to an average of about $6,700 an acre. For comparison, the previous high - set last year - was just over five thousand dollars an acre. When talking about high quality land in Iowa, it rose 34% to just under $8,200 an acre. The county with the most valuable land is O’Brien County which pegs the scale at $9,500 an acre. Duffy says this is the highest percentage increase recorded by the survey, which has been around since 1941. He says the land values go hand-in-hand with higher farm incomes. Duffy says about three-quarters of the Iowa farmland was purchased by farmers.

Topping our Beef Today Report - October was another strong month for U.S. beef exports, according to U.S. Meat Export Federation. US-MEF says based on value-alone, beef exports hit 452-million dollars in October. Those healthy sales pushed the 2011 total to a new annual record of four-and-a-half billion dollars. That's 37% of last year. Mexico, Canada and Japan are the top three markets for U.S. beef.

In North Dakota, corn is mostly thought of as a livestock feed. Ranchers chop it up to sustain their herds during those long winter months. But now, more North Dakota farmers are taking a good look at corn to sell as grain. Nick Dreyer from AgDay affiliate KMOT-TV says for many of those farmers, it's paying off. For the latest news in the beef trade, check out

In Agribusiness the World Trade Organization will take a preliminary step Monday to resolve a trade dispute between the U.S. and China over alleged poultry "dumping". The U.S. says China imposed anti-dumping duties on imports of broiler products. For its part, China says the U.S. unfairly subsidizes broiler products and sells them at less than fair value into the Chinese market. On Monday WTO's "Dispute Settlement Board" will take-up the case when it meets in Geneva, Switzerland. It will decide whether to investigate the complaint. Before China levied the duties, the United States was the largest exporter of broiler products to China. Since then, exports have fallen by nearly 90%.

Andy Shissler

If you're a livestock producer, how would you like to have a veterinarian living with you? They could respond to those late-night emergencies. North Carolina pork producer John Langdon has such an arrangement. Fortunately, it's his wife. In this report from the National Pork Board, Cindy Cunningham takes us to their award-winning farm. We'll finish our look at these award-winning pork producers tomorrow when we head to Ohio to meet the Webker family. Up next, we're serving-up some fries in Food and Your Family.

In Food and Your Family it's been a "double whammy" for many olive growers in California this year. Farmers expect a smaller crop because olive trees often alternate between years of large and small production. But according to the California Farm Bureau, weather problems cut this year’s crop even further. Some smaller-scale olive oil producers describe their harvest as a "scavenger hunt." Observers say the maturation of new olive trees may help prevent a sharp drop in overall California olive oil production.

It appears demand for frozen potato products - especially French fries - is not waning. USDA's Foreign Ag Service is forecasting global demand will increase 5% during the current marketing year. Why the increase? Part of the reason is because Mexico dropped a 20% tariff on U.S. imports. Those tariffs were part of the cross-border trucking dispute. Another reason is the increasing demand for frozen potatoes in Asia. Western-style fast food chains continue to drive consumption in China. Imports of U.S. frozen spuds jumped nearly 70%.

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